OLÉ! A SPANISH FIESTA APRIL 26 WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE: FABULOUS PRIZES ADDED!

SUPREME COURT WEIGHS IN ON FRAUD AND GAS PRICE-FIXING IN CALIFORNIA

CALIFORNIA FIRE AGENCIES ROLL OUT ONLINE CAMPFIRE PERMIT

VINEYARD GRANT JAMES ANNOUNCE EVENT SERIES IN RAMONA

CIRCLE PLAYERS PRESENT "CAFE MURDER" MAY 1-3 IN EL CAJON

BEST HAPPY HOURS IN EAST COUNTY

EL CAJON COUNCIL MOVES FORWARD ON ALCOHOL INITIATIVE

MWD APPROVES 15% CUTS TO SAN DIEGO COUNTY WATER SUPPLIES

BLACKWATER GUARDS SENTENCED: 30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MASSACRE IN IRAQ

BEECH-NUT RECALLS BABY FOOD DUE TO BROKEN GLASS IN JARS

CLAIMS OF ISIS CAMP ON TEXAS-MEXICO BORDER DEBUNKED

LATEST DROUGHT NEWS: DUST BOWL COMPARISON, IMPACTS ON LOCAL GROWERS, AND WATER THEFT CONCERNS

LED LIGHTS RECALLED DUE TO FIRES CAUSED BY BULBS

 

March 19, 2013 (Washington D.C.) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission announces a voluntary recall of LED light bulbs marketing under the brand names Definitely, EcoSmart, Sylvania and Westingthouse manufactured by Citizens Electric and Lighting Science Group. For details on the specific products, scroll down.

The bulbs can overhead, causing a fire hazard.  At least 68 product failures have occurred, including eight where visible smoke or fire occurred. These incidents damaged light sockets, melted fixtures, burned carpeting/floors and damaged a circuit and lamp.

PETER PAN JUNIOR THEATER PRESENTS “GUYS AND DOLLS” MARCH 20 -23

By Caprice Harrison

New! View a video preview of the dress rehearsal: http://vimeo.com/62166835

March 19, 2013 (San Diego) -- “Guys and Dolls” is a Tony-award winning musical, based on the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The Peter Pan Junior Theater is bringing this 1950’s Broadway production to life at The Performing Arts Center within The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 6845 University Ave., San Diego.

SAN DIEGO SADDLERY HOSTS TACK SALE TO BENEFIT SAVING HORSES RESCUE MARCH 23

On March 23rd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. San Diego Saddlery will be hosting a tack sale to benefit the nonprofit Saving Horses Rescue. They will be selling both new and used items and will be using the storefront next to the Saddlery.  The public is encouraged to stop by to support the rescue  and find some great deals. 

If you'd like to donate any new or gently used tack for the sale, just bring it by the San Diego Saddlery shop in El Cajon any time before the 23rd.  Donations are tax deductible.

GUHSD CITIZENS'' BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT: AS FUNDS RUN OUT, SOME PROJECTS PUT ON HOLD

 

March 19, 2013 (El Cajon)--On Thursday, March 7, the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) presented their annual report to the GUHSD Governing Board. The CBOC is a group of 11 community volunteers who oversee the expenditure of Prop H and Prop U bond funds.

A cover letter from Chair Nancy Herbst raises concerns over finances in the wake of a recession and reduced state funds. Current funds will be exhausted by mid-2015, she warns, adding, "Further projects are planned, but will not be scheduled until future funding is more certain." A revised project schedule is included in the report. Prominent among projects placed on hold is the long-awaited 12th high school in Alpine.

JUDGE REFUSES TO HALT CLOSED-DOOR CPUC MEETING IN SAN DIEGO; PLAINTIFF FILES APPEAL

 

Public meeting and vote set for March 21 on 3 local power plants, though judge denies public entry to March 20 with energy industry representatives and state regulators

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2013 (San Diego)— Superior Court Judge  Timothy Taylor today denied an injunction sought by Masada Disenhouse, who had asked the court to halt the California Public Utilities Commission from holding a closed-door, invitation-only meeting with energy industry stakeholders at the Scripps Seaside Forum in San Diego on Wednesday, March 20.

COWLES MOUNTAIN MAIN TRAILHEAD TO CLOSE FOR 7-WEEK RESTORATION; OTHER ROUTES TO THE SUMMIT ARE OPEN

 

March 17, 2013 (San Diego's East County) --  The trail to the top of Cowles Mountain from the Golfcrest Drive/Navajo Road trailhead is slated to be closed from Monday, March 25 through Friday, May 17 due to a trail restoration project.  The restoration is estimated to take seven weeks, though dates are subject to change, Jay Wilson with the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation told ECM.

STATE ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT IN LAWSUITS OVER IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES

 

March 19, 2013 (Sacramento) – California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Director Will Lightbourne and California Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas have announced an agreement with In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) beneficiaries and labor organizations to resolve several class action lawsuits involving the IHSS Program. The agreement resolves the dispute between the State and plaintiffs in the Oster v. Lightbourne and Dominguez v. Schwarzenegger lawsuits.

“This is an example of all sides coming together for the good of the people we serve,” said CDSS Director Will Lightbourne.

CITY LEADERS PLEDGE BUS FARE FOR STUDENTS WHO CAN'T AFFORD THE RIDE

By L.D. Thompson

March 18, 2013 (City Heights) -- Crawford High School student Terrance Hall said he doesn't always have bus fare and has to walk 18 blocks to get to school.  Over 400 students in the Center City area alone take the bus to school every day at a cost of $5.00  per day or a regional monthly  bus pass of up to $72.00.

School Superintendent Richard Barrera reported that for four years he has been asking Mayor Jerry Sanders to do something to relieve students and parents alike of this unfair burden only to have his request fall on deaf ears. However the election of Bob Filner as San Diego’s new Mayor changed all that. 

Saturday morning, the Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) held a press conference to witness the signing of a pledge to provide students free transportation on the city owned transit system.

RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT GIVES PLANTS TO 145 LOCAL SCHOOLS

March 15, 2013 (San Diego)--The Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, through the generous donation of Altman Plants, donated approximately 900 warm weather vegetable and herb plants for teachers and their school gardens across San Diego County on Thursday, March 14th. One hundred and forty-five schools, preschools, and youth programs participated.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: KIND HEARTS AND EXORCISTS (BEYOND THE HILLS)

By Brian Lafferty

March 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Despite the many perpetual controversies surrounding the Catholic Church, Islam, Scientology, and other religions, I am not opposed to organized religion.  In fact, religion as a whole fascinates me.  I have a lot of family and very good friends (some of them practically family) who have found peace, happiness, and spiritual and mental well-being from it.  Religion has been a major part of the human race, and it’s had an effect on world history, philosophy, literature, art, and everything else.  That’s why, as part of my overall plan to improve myself as a person through self-education about the aforementioned subjects and more, I’ve had a desire to learn about the various religions practiced in the world. 

WELLS FARGO TO HELP SAN DIEGO CUSTOMERS FACING MORTGAGE PAYMENT CHALLENGES: MARCH 21 HOME PRESERVATION WORKSHOP

Nearly 8,000 homeowners invited to free event to receive modifications on the spot

March 19, 2013 (San Diego)— Wells Fargo & Company is hosting a free Home Preservation Workshop for Southern California Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Financial, and Wells Fargo Home Equity customers – including military service members and veterans – facing financial hardships. Wells Fargo has invited nearly 8,000 mortgage customers to the free workshop which will be held on Thursday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the San Diego Convention Center – Hall F located at 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego. Parking at the San Diego Convention Center for the workshop is free.

ARMED ROBBERY AT USA GAS STATION IN LA MESA

March 18, 2013 – A man armed with a gun robbed the USA Gas Station located at 7594 University Avenue in La Mesa shortly after midnight March 17, 2013. The suspect entered the store, displayed a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash. After the clerk complied, the suspect left the store on foot in an unknown direction.  Officers searched the surrounding areas but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect is described as a black male adult in his 30s, approximately 5’10 tall, 200 lbs, wearing a white shirt, dark pants, and a black baseball cap. The suspect also wore a white bandana covering the lower portion of his face.

SYCUAN CASINO IS HELPING ADVERTISING INDUSTRY WORKERS FACING LIFE CRISIS

March 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Sycuan Casino in El Cajon has agreed to serve as presenting sponsor of the 12th annual San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) fundraiser and party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Ivy Rooftop Lounge atop the Andaz San Diego, 600 “F” St., in the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego.

SAFE is a volunteer, non-profit organization (501c3) that provides confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency. The fundraiser will feature food, networking, entertainment and a silent auction to benefit SAFE grant recipients. Cost to attend is $50 per person, $30 per person for students, or $70 per person at the door. For tickets and more information, visit www.aboutsafe.org.

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES COAUTHORS RESOLUTION HONORING CALIFORNIA'S HISTORIC VINEYARDS

March 18, 2013 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee has issued the following statement on the passage of HR 9, a resolution he co-authored that outlines the many characteristics of California’s historic vineyards and their vast contribution to the agricultural legacy of the state:

“Almost 250 years ago, Father Junipero Serra planted grapes at Mission San Diego, and since that time, historic vineyards have grown throughout the state – from northern California and the Central Coast to our own Ramona, Alpine and Riverside County’s Temecula Valley,” said Jones. “I am proud the 71st Assembly District is home to such beautiful and diverse grape growing areas – each of which has achieved worldwide recognition and contributes greatly to our local economy.  I am very pleased the Assembly took the time to recognize the extraordinary contribution of our living historic vineyards to the agricultural and social heritage of the state as well as to the enjoyment of wine enthusiasts throughout California and the world.”

SUNBELT PUBLICATIONS RECEIVES MEDIA AWARD

March 18, 2013 (San Diego) – The Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties has named San Diego regional publishers Diana and Lowell Lindsay as the recipient of their Media Award at their 2013 History Conference held this year in Vista, California. The award was given in recognition of their contributions to the preservation of “The History of this Region” through their publishing house, Sunbelt Publications, located in El Cajon.

The Media Award was one of several awards made during this year’s conference. The awards are given to individuals, organizations, and programs that have made significant contributions to the preservation and development of the regional history of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Baja, California, Mexico.

CALVET CELEBRATES WOMEN VETERANS HISTORY WEEK IN CALIFORNIA MARCH 18-24

March 18, 2013 (Sacramento) –  Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has proclaimed Women Veterans History Week in California, March 18-24, 2013 to honor their courage and sacrifice in defense of our nation.

“Currently, women make up 14% of the active duty U.S. Armed Forces and 18% of the Guard and Reserves.  Women also make up 8 percent of the total U.S. veterans population and 10 percent of the veterans population in California,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary.  “Nationally and statewide, the women veteran population will continue to grow. Therefore, it is imperative that we remember to recognize and honor their service and contributions, as they often face unique challenges when transitioning out of the military and back into our communities.”

LEMON GROVE ACADEMY HOSTS FIRST UNDERAGE DRINKING FORUM ON MARCH 21

March 18, 2013 (Lemon Grove) -- Lemon Grove Academy hosts its first Underage Drinking Forum for parents and students. Phil Hubbs, from the Proactive Network Against Substance Abuse (PRONASA), will be presenting information to parents about current drug and alcohol trends among youth. Additional speakers include: M.A.D.D., Friday Night Live, Lemon Grove Academy parents and students.

Students will participate in break-out sessions with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and Friday Night Live to learn about the dangers of drugs and underage drinking. Families are invited to arrive at 5:30 p.m. for a complimentary dinner before presentations begin. The event will be held at the Lemon Grove Academy, 7866 Lincoln Street, on Thursday, March 21 with dinner at 5:30 and presentations from 6:00-7:30 p.m. 

FRIENDSHIP CONNECTION: DINNER CONCERT TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CHANCEL CHOIR APRIL 7 AT UCCLM

 

March 19, 2013 (La Mesa)--It all started 30 years ago when a resident of a home for seniors spoke wistfully about the lack of music. His son took the complaint to heart and the Friendship Connection, a group of local singers and musicians, was born. They are still going strong today, performing at convalescent hospitals, senior residences and nursing facilities each Tuesday evening, their songs tapping into the audience’s memories of years gone by with singing along encouraged.

On Sunday, April 7 their music – folk, gospel and oldies as well as more current songs – will fill Friendship Hall at the United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM) at a fundraiser dinner and concert benefitting the church’s Chancel Choir.

HOMELESS ADVOCATE TO SPEAK IN EL CAJON MARCH 21

 

March 20, 2013 (El Cajon) – Amikas is a San Diego-based nonprofit that seeks to create housing and help for homeless families and individuals, as well as prevent those living below the poverty level from becoming homeless by offering educational, employment and support programs.  The group encourages citizen involvement to assure that others have food, shelter and other necessities.

On March 21, the Executive Director of Amikas, Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, will speak at the East County Democratic Club meeting in El Cajon. The event is free and open to the public.

MEDIA WATCH: OPPOSE PROPAGANDISTS AS MEDIA OWNERS; SIGN A PETITION ASKING THE L.A. TIMES NOT TO SELL TO THE KOCH BROTHERS

Sign petition:  http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/latimeskoch/#1

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2013 (San Diego) – For weeks, rumors have abounded that the respected Los Angeles Times newspaper and its parent Tribune Company may sell to would-be buyers whose goal is not journalism, but propaganda. On March 17, U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester told MSNBC news that the billionaire Koch Brothers, major financial backers of the TEA Party, are interested in buying the Times empire, which includes the Chicago Tribune as well as the L.A. Times

REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS AND VARGAS SUPPORT INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE

 

March 18, 2013 (Washington)--Two San Diego Congressional members, Democrats Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, joined 131 colleagues in introducing legislation to give minimum-wage workers a raise.  Both are cosponsors the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, increase the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips, and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation. 

“Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said.  “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most.  Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raise.”

MOTORCYCLIST STRUCK BY CAR ON HIGHWAY 78 SUSTAINS MAJOR INJURIES

 

March 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Shirley Frantum, 51, of Upland was riding her Harley Davidson east on Highway 78 on March 16 when she entered a curve east of San Felipe Road. She was struck by a Hyundai Sonata driven by Matthew Hon, 20, from Murrieta.

“According to witness statements, the Hyundai and the motorcycle entered the curve at approximately the same time.  The driver of the motorcycle was traveling on the double yellow lines," said Officer Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. “ The Hyundai was driving close to the yellow lines, but still within the westbound lane.”

SANTEE MAN KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH ON HIGHWAY 52; SPRING VALLEY WOMAN AND CHILDREN INJURED BY SUSPECTED DRUNK DRIVER

 

March 18, 2013 (Santee) –  Matthew T. Leonardo, 30, of Santee has been identified by the Medical Examiner as the driver killed last night in a head-on collision on State Route 52 near Santo Road at 9:08 p.m..  The crash also seriously injured a Spring Valley woman, Alisa Cunningham, and her three children in the vehicle struck by Leonardo.

According to California Highway Patrol, he was driving a 2012 Ford Focus when he entered the freeway heading the wrong way, traveling west in the eastbound lane at a reported speed of 65-70 mph.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS TO HONOR FIRST AMENDMENT FIGHTER TERRY FRANCKE OF CALAWARE ON MARCH 27 IN SAN DIEGO

Terry Francke

March 20, 2013 (San Diego) – The Society of Professional Journalists will honor Terry Francke of Californians Aware (CalAware) with SPJ’s Sunshine Award for his efforts over many years. The  award will be presented on March 27 at 6:30 at the 501 West Broadway office of Sheppard Mullin on the buildings 19th floor.

Francke, currently general counsel for Californians Aware, has a 31-year history of helping journalists, citizens and public officials understand and use their First Amendment and open government rights.

EAST COUNTY ARTIST'S WORK ON DISPLAY IN CORONADO

March 18, 2013 (El Cajon)--An East County resident is participating in the Coronado Public Library’s “Art through the Generations” exhibit, scheduled from March 1through May 31. Dolores Bridges Mote, of El Cajon, is among eight artists linked through public education and their teacher, Esther Painter Hagstrom.

Hagstrom taught art at Coronado High School from 1939 until her death in 1951. Some of her watercolors and etchings will be displayed with the works of her students who went on to become accomplished artists.

SAN DIEGO AUTHOR CELEBRATES BEST SELLER SUCCESS BY GIFTING 22 PERSONALIZED BOOKS, PLUS HIT SONG "22" BY TAYLOR SWIFT

March 20, 2012 (San Diego)--Sarka-Jonae Miller's debut novel set in San Diego achieved what few self-published books accomplish: a spot on a best seller list. Miller's novel, Between Boyfriends, appeared on three Amazon best seller lists last month, including #9 for humorous fiction, #11 for humor ebooks and #54 for women's fiction.

To celebrate, Miller is gifting 22 copies of the Kindle version of her book that she will personalize through Authorgraph.com. The Kindle book is readable on any computer, tablet or smartphone using a free app. Winners will be selected on March 22, and also receive a download of Taylor Swift's hit song “22.”

READER'S EDITORIAL: HOURS LEFT TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY

 

By Fred Griesbach

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

 

March 19, 2013 (Washington D.C)--In a matter of hours, the Senate could vote to cut your Social Security benefits.

President Obama is pushing a budget deal that would include a proposal called "chained CPI", a benefit cut that would take money straight out of your pocket – and some Senators want to take it.

Their vote could happen at any moment, so your Senators need to hear from you right now. Tell your Senators to keep your hard-earned benefits safe and say no to chained CPI.

VIEJAS CASINO HOTEL HOSTS GRAND OPENING PARTY AND DEBUT OF CIRQUE SHOW "RISE" ON MARCH 23



March 17, 2013 (Alpine)--You're invited to the Viejas Casino Hotel Grand Opening  on March 23 at 8 p.m.  Join the grand opening weekend VIP party and the world premiere of "Rise." A 30-minute cirque experience specially commissioned for the occasion, this breathtaking exhibition of artistry and acrobatics could only be followed by one thing-fireworks.

Stick around after the show and take in an incredible display that will literally ring in Viejas Hotel's Grand Opening with a bang.

MAYOR FILNER TOUTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN HIS FIRST 30 DAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2013 (San Diego) – This week, Mayor Bob Filner celebrated his 100th day in office as the 35th Mayor of San Diego by releasing a list of accomplishments in his first 30 days.  

To the delight of some and the dismay of others, the new Mayor is shaking things up at City Hall and challenging the powers-that-be as he strives to fulfill his campaign promises for change.

BIRD TALK: BULLOCK’S ORIOLE

 

By Greg Dunne

March 16, 2013 (Lake Murray) -- Spring has sprung, warm weather is here and the wild Ramona Lilac is in bloom all over the hills in the East County. It is the time of year to keep a keen eye open for the Oriole. These birds winter in Mexico and then start to come north as the days get longer. In my experience, March and April have always been the best time to observe these beautiful, bright yellow-orange birds with sharp contrasting black on the back, throat and top of the head.

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